Update, June 15, 2020 (11:35 AM ET): Recently, XDA Developers published a breakdown of some firmware code a developer found related to a Google-branded Android TV streamer. The majority of what the team found is summarized in the original article below, but they’ve unearthed a few new tidbits of information since.
Here’s a quick summary of the additional details the team found related to the Android TV streamer. If you want to know how they found this info, XDA does a very thorough job of explaining it here:
- The Google-branded Android TV streamer will likely have 2GB of RAM and be powered by the Amlogic S905X2 SoC.
- The device will likely support low-latency features, which heavily suggests the streamer will be compatible with Google’s game-streaming service Stadia.
- The Bluetooth remote will very likely have a dedicated Netflix button as well as a similar button for YouTube.
There are some additional minor details revealed in the firmware for the as-yet-unannounced Android TV streamer, but the biggest pieces of info we want — how much it costs and when we’ll see it — are still unknown.
Original article, June 2, 2020 (01:13 PM ET): We’ve heard rumors for a long time now that Google plans to release an Android TV streamer. We’ve heard the device will look a lot like a Chromecast but come with a companion remote, making it more akin to a Roku than the Chromecast has ever been.
Today, we have our first look at what this device could be. Thanks to some code-sleuthing over at XDA Developers, a promotional video has been unearthed that shows what very well could be the Android TV streamer.
To be upfront, the date of this video’s creation is from a long time ago — October 2019, to be precise. Therefore, it is very possible that the device that we’ll eventually see launch could look and function much differently than what we see here. However, it is also very likely that any changes will be subtle if there are any at all.
Google’s Android TV streamer
According to the imagery and information provided by XDA Developers, the codename for Google’s Android TV streamer is “Sabrina.” The device is shaped like an oblong pad with a wire that sticks out from the top, much as we’ve seen on Chromecasts.
The Google “G” logo is featured prominently in the renders. However, there are rumors that the device could instead by a Nest-branded product since Google is pushing all of its smart home devices under that umbrella. As such, that logo could change to a Nest logo instead.
The promo renders also show off three color choices for the device: the usual black, an off-white, and pastel pink. Since the device will probably live behind your TV for the duration of its existence, it’s unclear why colorways are even necessary — but there you go.
And here’s the remote (finally!)
One of the biggest complaints about Chromecasts is Google’s insistence that you use your phone as the remote. Thankfully, this Google-branded Android TV streamer will probably come with a remote in the box, just like we see with Rokus, Amazon Fire TV products, Apple TV streamers, and pretty much all other competitive products.
The image above gives an idea of what the remote could look like. The Google Assistant button is very prominent right near the top, and the touch dial occupying the entire top third gives the remote a distinct look. The promo materials also heavily suggest the remote could have IR capabilities, which would imply it could be programmed to control other equipment you already own.
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Unfortunately, the leaked materials don’t give us any info about what the Android TV streamer could be called, how much it would cost, or when it would launch. We do know that Google planned a hardware launch for Google I/O 2020 before it was canceled and still has to release the Google Pixel 4a. Therefore, it’s likely this could launch very soon, possibly alongside the Pixel 4a.
As for what it could cost, industry rumors suggest Google is gunning to compete with Roku and Amazon, which would likely influence the company to price this below $80. Since Google is late to the streaming game at this point (if you ignore the very different Chromecast), pricing will make all the difference in getting consumers to give up their Rokus.